Though they joined colleague Ruth Bader Ginsburg in arguing against Hobby Lobby's challenge to the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan filed a separate one-paragraph dissent that bodes well for the future of religious liberty.
Breyer and Kagan, two reliable members of the Court’s “liberal” wing, joined all but Part III-C-I of Ginsburg’s dissent.
In the section reference, Ginsburg offers her rebuttal to the Court’s finding that closely-held for-profit corporations are entitled to protection under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the 1993 statue on which the case was decided.
“We need not and do not decide,” Breyer and Kagan wrote, “whether either for-profit corporations or their owners may bring claims under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.”
The addendum from Breyer and Kagan left only two justices, Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, holding that owners of closely-held for-profit corporations surrender their First Amendment right to religious liberty when conducting business.
Though Breyer and Kagan stopped short of endorsing the Court’s finding that certain corporate citizens do have religious freedom protections, they also declined to refute that view.